The monarch butterfly is an easily noticeable butterfly specie on our planet and is found majorly in North and South America. They are known for their seasonal migration, they migrate from the United States and Canada south to California and Mexico for the winter.
But sadly, the vast 3,000-mile monarch butterfly migration has now become a thing of the past. The Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count found that the number of west-coast monarchs spending the winter in California had fallen to only 20,456 butterflies, which is equivalent to a decrease of 86 percent since the previous year. And the count of eastern monarchs overwintering in Mexico this year has decreased 15 percent since last year, for a total decline of near about 90 percent over the past 20 years.
But the question arises, why? Who is responsible? Guys, the answer is that we humans are the reason behind this significant fall of the population in monarchs. Change in climate and habitat loss are now threatening North American monarch butterflies with extinction. The disappearance of milkweed is a substantial cause of the decrease in their population. North American monarch butterflies lay their eggs only on milkweed and nowhere else, and caterpillars also consume only and the only milkweed, used to grow in and around agricultural crops. The regular removal of milkweed from fields in recent years, as well as an increase in the use of herbicides, has significantly reduced the amount of milkweed available.
Rising carbon dioxide levels from the burning of fossil fuels are majorly causing climate change, and this increase of carbon can alter how plants like milkweed build individual molecules. Monarchs are highly sensitive to temperature and weather changes, so climate change may affect biological processes, such as having the knowledge of when to reproduce and to migrate. It's also creating more extreme weather occurrences, which negatively affects their overwintering habitats, the availability of milkweed in their breeding habitats, and their survival directly, either its too hot or too cold, and ultimately monarchs are dying.
That's all the bad news, now the good part is that the monarch butterflies are well known and dearly loved species across North and South America and have received a lot of attention due to the decline in their population. There are several ongoing public campaigns to increase awareness about them. People are encouraged to plant more milkweed in their gardens to provide a natural breeding environment for the monarchs. The team of Trekmoss is making sure to spread the word about such significant causes so that together we all can make our planet a better place to live.